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Georgia schools urged to request lead in water tests

ATLANTA (AP) – A group that will test for lead in drinking water at public schools in Georgia is inviting schools to apply for the testing program.

RTI International, a North Carolina nonprofit, began accepting applications on Tuesday.

The program is free to schools, with costs paid for by a federal grant of $ 980,000.

Up to 800 schools can apply. If more than that expresses interest, priority will be given to elementary schools, schools with a higher percentage of students receiving free or discounted lunch, and schools in underserved communities. Other schools, as well as a daycare, will likely be invited to apply later this year.

RTI says it will provide low-cost recommendations on how to remove lead from drinking water and cooking water. A school or district would be responsible for fixing any problem.

Childhood exposure to lead can cause irreversible mental and physical problems.

School employees collect water samples themselves and send them to RTI for analysis. Testing was originally scheduled to start earlier, but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The grant runs until 2023.

RTI conducted an earlier testing program in North Carolina, finding high levels of lead in at least one tap in 9% of the 3,200 schools or daycares tested.

More information can be found at

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